Monday, June 30

Detroit Wok City?

With new urban agricultural projects such as in this scene from Red State Road Trip 2, who knows what folks will be cooking up...

Sunday, June 29

"100 Year War" to Shift to Iran?

According to CNN, the Bush administration has launched a "significant escalation" of covert operations in Iran, sending U.S. commandos to spy on the country's nuclear facilities and undermine the Islamic republic's government. This from journalist Seymour Hersh.

Though White House, CIA and State Department officials are declining comment on Hersh's New Yorker report, history tells us it wise to listen to Hersh.

President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have rejected findings from U.S. intelligence agencies that Iran has halted a clandestine effort to build a nuclear bomb and "do not want to leave Iran in place with a nuclear program," Hersh said.

"They believe that their mission is to make sure that before they get out of office next year, either Iran is attacked or it stops its weapons program," Hersh said.

This positioning by the Bush administration upgrades US government terrorism to the "code red" levels. Hopefully the Iranians have stockpiled plenty of duct tape and plastic sheeting.

More from Hersh.

Thursday, June 26

University Seeking housing for Persons Displaced by Flood

Housing resources for displaced faculty, staff and students

Resources for persons needing assistance in finding rental properties include:

* Business Office: contact Cathy Fountain, at 335-0082, or
* Human Resources: contact Jane Holland, at 335-1371, or
Off-Campus Housing Service:
* Short term housing options: Iowa City/Coralville Convention and Visitors Center.

Do you have temporary housing to offer?

Anyone who has room in their home to offer to faculty, staff or students for short term use (days or weeks), should contact Cathy Fountain at 335-0082, or She will maintain a database of space. If you HAVE such a short term need, please contact Cathy directly.

Volunteer Your Volunteer Hours and Funds

Iowa City has asked residents to report the number of hours that they volunteered in pre-flood, post-flood activities. This information is used to meet FEMA requirements for reimbursement.

Go here to do it.

Also, the Coralville/Iowa City Area Flood Relief Fund has been established within the Community Foundation of Johnson County.

Use of the Fund's proceeds will be coordinated by United Way of Johnson County, the Crisis Center, and the cities of Coralville and Iowa City. The first focus will be on immediate needs, then intermediate needs, and then long-term needs.

All contributions to this Fund are tax-deductible and should be sent to Community Foundation of Johnson County, 325 East Washington Street, Iowa City, Iowa 52240 - Note "Flood Relief Fund." For more information, contact Mike Stoffregen, Executive Director, at 319.337.0483.

Wednesday, June 25

Idyllwild Neighbors to Seek FEMA Buyout Remedy?

Knowing a number of people in this neighborhood, it is not unreasonable to think that a buyout is one solution to address what should happen for the best of all concerned, given the poor information that led to the development of the land in the first place. From the Press-Citizen:

Residents arrived at Tuesday night's Idyllwild Homeowners Association meeting with a lot of questions and left with almost the same number of questions.

Although the future of the subdivision remains up for debate, residents were told that they can begin to pursue a federal buyout.

One resident asked the crowd of about 180 if they would be interested in pursuing a buyout from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

An overwhelming majority of people in the room raised their hands.

However, if the subdivision will qualify for a buyout remains an unresolved issue.

Thomas Larkin, an assistant for U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, explained that the process to obtain a buyout is lengthy.

Part of the process involves the Iowa City Council approving a buyout application. Then the state prioritizes those applications and sends them to FEMA, who makes the final decision.

"We understand your dilemma," Larkin told the crowd of residents. "But you have to understand that the buyout process is a lengthy one."

The City Council will meet soon to discuss the issue of federal buyout applications likely for several neighborhoods, according to Assistant Iowa City Manager Dale Helling.

Almost all Idyllwild homeowners did not have flood insurance. Resident Sri Duvvuri said she was told she could not obtain flood insurance.

"There are a lot of people here who were told they could not get flood insurance," she said.

Bill Haggerty, an Idyllwild resident, asked if the homes still will be charged property taxes.

"It's ridiculous to pay property taxes when we can't get into our damn places," Haggerty said.

Helling said whether residents affected by flooding will pay property taxes is up to the City Council.

Gary Colton, public information specialist for the federal Small Business Administration, said individual homeowners and the Idyllwild Homeowners Association could qualify for federal low-interest loans to clean up and rebuild the subdivision through SBA.

He stressed that the first thing homeowners need to do is register with FEMA to begin the process.

Idyllwild board of directors president Sally Cline said that Tuesday night's meeting was the first of many that will be held to address residents' concerns.

Shockeroo--Rich Indeed Getting Richer

Worldwide there are 10,100,000 people who have at least $1,000,000 worth of assets (excluding housing). CNN and the Associated Press Report:

The number of people around the world with at least $1 million in assets passed 10 million for the first time last year, according to a report by Merrill Lynch & Co. and consulting firm Capgemini Group. And, surprise--their bank accounts are growing even faster.

The combined wealth of the globe's millionaires grew to nearly $41 trillion last year, an increase of 9 percent from a year before. On average, their wealth was more than $4 million, the highest ever.

"The growth of their wealth is outpacing the growth of their population, and that's a trend that's going to continue in coming years," said Ileana Van Der Linde, a principal with Capgemini.

Not too surprisingly, the ranks of the wealthy are growing fastest in places like India, China and Brazil where economies are booming. The number of millionaires in India alone grew by about 23 percent. millionaires in China grew 20.3 percent to 415,000, making it home to the fifth-largest number of millionaires in the world, displacing France in that position. Millionaires in China grew 20.3 percent to 415,000, making it the home for the fifth-largest number of millionaires in the world, replacing France in that position.

But rest assured, the United States continues to reign supreme (even on the Supreme Court): One in every three millionaires in the world lives in America. Combined, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America account for one in 10.

All told, there were about 600,000 more millionaires in the world in 2007 than in 2006, for a total of about 10.1 million. That's a 6 percent increase from the previous year.

The super rich — those with at least $30 million — grew by 8.8 percent in population while their accumulated wealth grew by 14.5 percent. This rarefied group controls about a third of the $40.7 trillion.

The wealth of the world's richest is projected to reach $59.1 trillion by 2012, advancing at a rate of 7.7 percent, according to the report.

For perspective, this projection is equivalent to 10% of the World's GDP or more than the entire GDP of Iraq.

The question is, will these same people use their financial clout to help improve the well-being of their fellow citizens?

Tuesday, June 24

US Military Death Toll at 4,106, TV News Scaling Back Coverage

After a month that had a decline in military deaths in Iraq, 22 soldiers have been killed in action so far in June. This trend is disturbing in that it reveals that Iraqis, beyond "the insurgency" are growing impatient with the US occupation, as exemplified by an Al-Madaen city council member who opened fire and killed two US soldiers who entered the council building.

In addition, with the US economy and natural disasters situations at home, news organizations are scaling back their coverage in Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to the International Herald Tribune

According to data compiled by Andrew Tyndall, a television consultant who monitors the three network evening newscasts, coverage of Iraq has been "massively scaled back this year." Almost halfway into 2008, the three newscasts have shown 181 weekday minutes of Iraq coverage, compared with 1,157 minutes for all of 2007. The "CBS Evening News" has devoted the fewest minutes to Iraq, 51, versus 55 minutes on ABC's "World News" and 74 minutes on "NBC Nightly News." (The average evening newscast is 22 minutes long.)

CBS News no longer stations a single full-time correspondent in Iraq, where some 150,000 United States troops are deployed.

Mason, Bailey, Council, and City Manager Shine in Time of Crisis

The flood of 2008 is rapidly becoming a memory for many in Iowa City, but for those impacted most severely, the results will be felt for a long time to come. Credit is due for the handling of the evacuation and flood relief efforts by the City council and, particularly, Mayor Regenia Bailey, and City Manager Michael Lombardo. They have been working tirelessly to make sure that city services did their best to stave the flooding and, more importantly, to insure that residents were safe.

Certainly there are questions to be answered about the flood plain designations and this, hopefully, will lead to redrawing the maps so that either a) persons living in those areas will have flood insurance or b) FEMA/city will purchase those parcels and reduce the likelihood that families will go through what the folks in Idyllwild, Normandy Dr., Thatcher/Maculis Trailer Park and other areas experienced.

For the city council, it is hoped that closer attention will be paid to developments and their impact on existing developments. Some unintended consequences of the University of Iowa's growth may have impacted the flooding situation.

For the university, the impact of the flood will take time to sort out. The funding needs alone to clean up the buildings that were flooded will cause class scheduling problems and housing concerns for the foreseeable future. Sally Mason's leadership in clearing the university is to be commended and was a good test of her leadership capabilities (though the test goes on as she will press for funding to assist in UI's recovery).

John Deeth offers more on the flood recovery here.

Trespassing Charges Dropped Against DM Catholic Worker

From Frank Cordaro of the Des Moines Catholic Workers

Charges dropped on Des Moines Catholic Worker for Trespass at Military
Recruitment Center: County attorney said she had no case.

Trespassing charges against Des Moines Catholic Worker Kirk Brown were
dropped today, Monday, June 23, 2008, in Polk County Courthouse in Des
Moines, Iowa. The charges stemmed from Brown's involvement in an
occupation of the Armed Forces Career Center in Des Moines on March
19, 2008, the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War.

Shortly before the Brown's trial was to begin, Sally Frank, attorney
for Brown, was informed by prosecutors that because their witnesses
could not state with complete certainty that the protesters had
blocked the entry to the Armed Forces Career Center that the County
felt compelled to dismiss the charges.

Eleven protesters occupied and briefly shutdown a Military Recruiting
Center on March 19, 2008, on Des Moines' east side. About an hour
into the protest, police arrived and told the group to leave. All
obeyed the directive, except Brown and Ed Bloomer who were both
arrested after they refused to leave the premises when instructed to
do so by military recruiters and police. Bloomer had pleaded guilty
to the charge of trespassing at the arraignment and was give a fine
and a suspended sentence. Brown pleaded not guilty.

A pre-trial program concerning Brown's trial and the motivating
factors of war and civil disobedience was presented last night, June
22, 2008, at the Berrigan Catholic Worker House in Des Moines, with
Kirk Brown as the lead presenter.

Also on the program was Andy Duffy, president of the Iowa City Chapter
of Iraq Veterans against the War. Duffy told of his
personal experience with military recruiters and the lies they tell.
Sally Frank, Kirk's attorney shared with us what we might expect at
Court the following day. Colyn Burkank, a summer intern at the Des
Moines Catholic Worker reported on his experience earlier in the week
in a meeting with a Marine recruiter at the same office at which Brown
was arrested.

Monday, June 23

Pete Seeger and Majora Carter Chat

Activists of far different generations swap stories.

Seven Words You Can Never Say...About George Carlin

Shy, Retiring, Timid, Dull, Tepid, Unfeeling, Aversive? Not a chance.

George Carlin, a personal hero of mine, was not afraid of words. He was not afraid to dissect them, challenge commonly accepted meanings of them or even go to jail for them (as he did in the early 70's for disturbing the peace for uttering the infamously famous 7 dirty words you can't say..." at a show in Wisconsin.

Carlin's 6 o'clock News with Hal Sleet, Biff Burns, etc. was the first recollection I have of him. However, as a seventh grader, I was brought into his world through "Class Clown" and "FM & AM." My best buddy, Bill Rosenfeld would do dead-on impressions of Carlin and we would laugh for hours.

I, like many others, will miss him, because he taught us that there is nothing more subversive than a thought-provoking idea. I consider myself provoked. I'd say "Rest in Peace, George", but he'd probably say something like "rest in peace?--Fuck it, I'm dead."

Caravanistas Roll Through Iowa City

Quick, name a country that offers free medical school training to up to 500 American students that promise to practice in under-served areas in the US. If you answered Cuba, then you probably were at a Pastors for Peace Cuban Caravan event in Iowa City, Ames, or Des Moines this weekend.

If you didn't know it, there has been a blockade on Cuba since 1962. The US "embargo" has been reinforced in October 1992 by the Cuban Democracy Act (or "Torricelli Law"), which aimed to restrain the development of the Cuban economy’s new driving forces the by hitting the inflow of funds and goods by: i) the strict limitations of the transfers of foreign currencies by the families in exile, ii) the six-months ban to enter U.S. harbors of all ships that had anchored in a Cuban port, iii) sanctions against firms doing commerce with the island even though under the jurisdiction of a third state.

The embargo was systematized by the Cuban Liberty and Democracy Solidarity Act ("Helms/Burton Law") of March 1996, aimed to harden the "international" sanctions against Cuba. Its Title I generalizes the ban to import Cuban goods, demanding, for example, that exporters give proof that no Cuban sugar has been integrated in their products, as was already the case with nickel. It conditions the authorization of currency transfers to the creation on the island of a private sector including employment of salaried staff. Still more enterprising, Title II fixes the modalities of a transition to a "post-Castro" power, as well as the nature of the relationship to have with the United States. Title III grants the U.S. tribunals the right to judge demands for damage and interest made by a civil and moral person of U.S. nationality that considers having been injured by the loss of property in Cuba due to nationalization, and claims compensation from the users or beneficiaries of this property. At the request of the old owners, any national (and family) of a third state, having made transactions with these users or beneficiaries, can be sued in the United States. The sanctions incurred are set out in Title IV, which provides the refusal of the State Department to give U.S. entrance visas to these individuals and their families.

In 1999, U.S. President Bill Clinton expanded the trade embargo even further by ending the practice of foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies trading with Cuba totaling more than $700 million a year.

The United Nations General Assembly has voted many times to encourage the U.S. to lift the blockade, however most recently, U.S., Israel, Palau and the Marshall Islands voted against the resolution (Micronesia abstained. Albania, El Salvador and Iraq did not vote) have voted against the "necessity to lift the blockade against Cuba."

The pressures exerted by the U.S. Departments of State and Trade on the suppliers of Cuba have concerned a wide range of goods necessary for the health sector (medicines destined for pregnant women, laboratory products, radiology equipment, operating tables and surgery equipment, anesthetics, defibrillators, artificial breathing apparatuses, dialysis apparatuses, pharmaceutical stocks…) and went as far as to prevent the free supply of food for new-born babies and of equipment for unities of pediatric intensive care . The production capacities of vaccines conceived by Cuba are hampered by the frequent lack of spare parts and of essential components that have to be imported, as well as water treatment plants.

This embargo causes unjustified suffering of the Cuban people. The shortages affecting many medicines, which are not produced in Cuba, complicate the immediate and complete implementation of the procedures of treatment of breast cancer, leukemia, cardiovascular or kidney diseases, and HIV for example. Moreover, the U.S. authority’s infringements on individual freedom of movement and scientific knowledge… (restrictions on travel of U.S. researchers, the disrespect of bilateral agreements on Cuban researcher’s visas, refusal to grant software licenses or to satisfy the orders from Cuban libraries of books, magazines, diskettes or CD-Rom of specialized scientific literature…) have in fact led to the extension of the embargo to areas formally excluded from it by the law.

According to Wikipedia, "Recent US polling indicates that the American public is ambivalent about continuing the embargo. For instance, a 2007 AP/Ipsos Poll indicates that 48% of Americans favor continuing the embargo, against 40% who favor ending it. Interestingly the same poll revealed that, despite overwhelmingly unfavorable opinions of Fidel Castro (6% favorable vs. 64% unfavorable), Americans strongly believe that diplomatic relations should be re-established with his government (62% in favor, 30% opposed)."

The Pastors for Peace have been making trips, at risk of arrest by the American government, for 13 years to deliver goods, medicines, and school supplies to people in need in Cuba realizing that a social justice and humanitarian imperative, in their eyes, supersedes unjust laws.

If you would like to support their efforts, go to their website and learn more.

Thursday, June 19

Shifty Business


Iowa City is turning to local business owners to request their help in reducing the traffic congestion that has resulted from flood-related street and bridge closures. Employers are being asked to consider staggering their work shifts so that the volume of traffic between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. can be more evenly distributed. Scheduling some shifts earlier or later than normal business hours will help relieve the gridlocks occurring on Burlington Street, Melrose Avenue, and other streets that are now absorbing traffic from streets that have been closed due to floodwaters or for other safety reasons.

In addition to staggering shifts, the City is asking businesses to allow employees to telecommute whenever possible, and to promote alternative modes of transportation for getting to and from work, including the City bus system, biking, walking, or carpooling to help lower the number of vehicles on the road. Any measures that will help reduce or eliminate non-essential travel throughout the City during the flood recovery process are being encouraged to help keep roads open and accessible for vehicles that will be providing emergency or post-flood services. The Iowa City Police Department will continue to provide assistance by directing traffic at key intersections until more streets and roadways are cleared for travel.

For more information, contact Wendy Ford, City of Iowa City Economic Development Coordinator at 356-4248 or

Flood-related questions may be directed to the City’s Flood Control Center at 887-6202 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Wednesday, June 18

What Would Gandhi Do? Learn June 28th

Due to popular demand, PEACE Iowa is offering an expanded version of the Gandhi workshop we offered in April.

Free Gandhi workshop at PEACE Iowa



10:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

PEACE Iowa, Old Brick

Common Room (ground floor)

26 E. Market St., Iowa City

Facilitator: Chris Klug

Refreshments will be served, including a simple lunch.

Participants in this workshop will explore nonviolence as Gandhi understood and practiced it. They will be encouraged to consider how the practice of Gandhian nonviolence could change their ways of responding to the difficulties and conflicts of everyday life. Through experiential activities, participants will apply Gandhi’s philosophy to personal life and political activism. The workshop is designed for adults and high school students.

If you would like to attend (or might attend) this workshop, PLEASE REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE. An estimate of the number of attenders will help PEACE Iowa organize this event.

About the facilitator:

Working with the Gandhi Peace Foundation in New Delhi, Chris Klug has traveled to India more than a dozen times since 1983, leading groups to learn about Gandhi and nonviolence. He also has extensive experience with conflict resolution and violence prevention, including directing peace centers in Virginia and South Dakota. Chris is currently a grief counselor at Iowa City Hospice, and teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction through the Department of Psychiatry at UIHC.

PEACE Iowa is a peace center in Iowa City that promotes international peace through education, intercultural communication, activism, and personal choices.
Old Brick
26 E. Market St.
Iowa City, IA 522445
(319) 354-1925

FYI for Parkview Terrace Flood Evacuees

The Parkview Terrace neighborhood (Normandy, Manor, Eastmoor, Granada Court, Park Place) will be meeting on Saturday, June 21st at 3:00 PM in Meeting Room A of the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn Street, to receive information about flood relief directly from City staff, City Council, FEMA, representatives of Selective Flood Insurance and other resources.

If you are a resident of Parkview Terrace, please provide your contact information to Maureen Braddock at so that you can be notified directly regarding upcoming information.

Additional meetings are being planned for other flood-impacted areas of Iowa City.

Get Politicized!

Have you ever worked on a political campaign?

Have you ever worked on a political campaign?

Ever wanted to but never knew where to start?

It's not as hard as you might think. Next week DFA Night School is teaming up with Democratic GAIN to help you get hired on a campaign this fall.

Getting a Job on a Campaign
Wednesday June 25th - 8:30pm Eastern Daylight Time

Campaigns are gearing up in all 50 states right now, and they need passionate, trained campaign staff. Next Wednesday, June 25, Democratic GAIN President Amy Pritchard will be joining DFA Night School for an hour long training on 'Getting a Job on a Campaign'.

Democratic GAIN is one of the nation's most effective organizations when it comes to connecting campaigns with talented staffers across the country. We'll be sharing research suggestions, tips on touching up your resume and how to build and leverage your professional networks into the perfect campaign job as part of this month's DFA Night School.

Night School is DFA's interactive online training program. Every month Night School brings top campaign experts right to your home at absolutely no cost to you. Just CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR NIGHT SCHOOL. Once you've signed up, you'll be sent the info you need to listen to Night School live either on your home computer or over the telephone. The training will be accompanied by a slideshow you can view online or download and print out ahead of time.

Sign up today and get a job taking back our country this fall.


Matt Blizek, Training Director
Democracy for America

Cuban Caravan Still Coming


The Cuba Caravan dinner scheduled for 6 p.m. Sunday June 22nd, at the Unitarian Universalist Society (corner of Gilbert St. and Iowa Ave.) will be held as scheduled, but will now be a potluck, without admission (or live music), but with donations encouraged. A percentage of donations (20%) will go to Iowa City flood relief. The speaker will be Jim Bauman, who is traveling across the country raising awareness about the U.S. embargo of Cuba, and who will travel to Cuba in July.

Attenders are invited to bring any of the following items, to be delivered to the Cuban people by the Cuba Caravan, in an act of civil disobedience to the U.S. embargo of Cuba:
Box of crayons
Pens, pencils
Bars of soap
Toothbrush (must be in original packaging)
Prenatal or children's vitamins (MUST be sealed in original packaging, with expiration date after Feb 2009)

For those who cannot attend the event, but who would like to contribute to sending school and medical supplies to Cuba, please WRITE CHECKS TO PASTORS FOR PEACE (memo: Cuba Caravan); MAIL to: Peace Iowa,
Old Brick, 26 E. Market St,. Iowa City, IA 522445.

For more information, call Andy at 358-0828.

Sponsored by PEACE Iowa and the Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Committee

Recycling Resumes & Where to Take Your Sandbags

Municipal curbside recycling services in Iowa City will resume Thursday, June 19. No wet or flood-contaminated materials, sand bags or sheets of plastic from sandbagging will be accepted.

Disposal of Sandbags:
It is recommended that filled bags remain in place until the threat of additional flooding has passed. Once the bags are no longer needed, full sandbags (wet or dry) and associated plastic sheeting will be collected at two locations:

1. Iowa City Landfill (3900 Hebl Avenue – take Melrose out two miles west of Iowa City.) The material will be accepted at no charge and can bypass the Landfill scale. The loads must be strictly sandbag-related waste, and cannot include any other household, construction, demolition, or commercial waste materials.

2. Sandbags are also accepted at the City of Iowa City Equipment Facility at 1200 S. Riverside Drive. Look for signs identifying the location of the drop-off point for sandbags. Only sandbags and plastic sheeting can be dropped off here.

The flood hotline number in City Hall (887-6202) will be answered from 8:00 AM-5:00 PM until further notice.

Red State Road Trip - Day 6

Meet a crusty Kansan M.T. Liggett who definitely has an opinion.

Can We Solve It? Yes We Can!

There is a group called the We Campaign which is focused on sustainable energy policies such as geothermal, wind, and solar energy.

The We Campaign is a project of The Alliance for Climate Protection -- a nonprofit, nonpartisan effort founded by Nobel laureate and former Vice President Al Gore. Our ultimate aim is to halt global warming. Specifically we are educating people in the US and around the world that the climate crisis is both urgent and solvable.

Of importance to Iowans is that renewables do not include ethanol, but a report released by the United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club found that thanks to the growth of wind energy, approximately 5,200 manufacturing jobs could be created in Iowa alone over the next decade. Additional studies have found that thousands more jobs could be created in other states that have suffered industry job losses and that welcome the opportunity to train workers for the new energy economy.

Things Learned (or Relearned) in a Flood

I'm a optimistically cynical person--always have been. And because I neither believe in the inherent goodness or badness of humanity, I am constantly not surprised when people prove to be either. This being said, score some points for the optimistic team, as people during the worst of the flooding, proved how helpful they can be to those in need.

I observed hundreds of people sandbagging, clearing basements, manning shelters (for both humans and animals), providing housing, bringing food, comforting and so much more.

What I re-learned is that most people want to be helpful, but need to know what they can do or where they can go to lend a hand.

I spoke to Congressman Loebsack's man-about-district, David Leshtz and he spoke about how Congressman Loebsack and Governor Culver were treated in Columbus Junction by people who need assistance--how glad those in need were to see help on the way.

It is helpful to be reminded sometimes that people in power, just like the rest of us, are looking for the best way to be of service. And, cynicism be damned for a moment, it is not just about votes in future elections--it is about why they were called to public service in the first place.

The other lesson is that we all want to do something heroic. To do something for someone else without thought or consequence to ourselves. Whether it is saving books from floodwaters or sandbagging in a lightening storm, people are capable of acting together and therefore, heroically.

It is true that some people are better at it than others--the National Guard, Sheriff's Department, Fire Departments are often in the position of doing what most of us would not choose to do. But, in a dire emergency, each one of us can put on our tights and cape and jump into the fray.

It is a matter of time that people will return to their narcissistic natures, but not now--there is too much is needed and we are here to help.

FEMA at IC Farner's Market Today

FEMA representatives will be available at the Iowa City Farmers Market today and Saturday to provide flood assistance information. They will be stationed in the southwest section of the market area on the ground level of the Chauncey Swan Parking Ramp, which is located just south of City Hall.

Harkin's Office Creates Handbook to Help Iowan Disaster Victims

U.S. Senator Tom Harkin today announced that his office has created a handbook that will assist Iowans who have been affected by the recent severe storms, tornadoes and flooding beginning May 25.

The handout is online at

The handbook contains information regarding:
-- Registering with FEMA
-- Federal housing assistance
-- Long-term, low interest loans
-- State grants for those living in Governor declared disaster areas
-- Filing property damage claims with your insurance company

Iowans with additional questions are asked to call one of Harkin's local offices if they have any questions about disaster assistance.

Office hours are 8:00am to 5:00pm CST Monday through Friday
150 First Avenue, NE
Suite 370
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401
(319) 365-4504 Phone
(319) 365-4683 Fax

1606 Brady Street
Suite 323
Davenport, IA 52803
(563) 322-1338 Phone
(563) 322-0417 Fax

210 Walnut Street
Room 733, Federal Building
Des Moines, IA 50309
(515) 284-4574 Phone
(515) 284-4937 Fax

350 W. 6th Street
315 Federal Building
Dubuque, IA 52001
(563) 582-2130 Phone
(563) 582-2342 Fax

320 6th Street
110 Federal Building
Sioux City, IA 51101
(712) 252-1550 Phone
(712) 252-1638 Fax

Monday, June 16

Federal Court Allows White House E-Mails to Remain Secret

The White House Office of Administration is not required to turn over records about a trove of possibly missing e-mails, a federal judge ruled Monday.

The White House Office of Administration is not bound by the Freedom of Information Act, a judge says.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly *Who is also sits on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court-- found the agency does not have "substantial independent authority" so it is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

The decision means the White House does not have to disclose documents relating to e-mail system. That system developed problems that may have caused millions of White House e-mails to be unaccounted for.

The watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington had sued under FOIA. The group expressed disappointment in the ruling and said it is appealing the decision.

"The Bush administration is using the legal system to prevent the American people from discovering the truth about the millions of missing White House e-mails," said Melanie Sloan, the organization's executive director.

In January, the White House said it cannot rule out that it may have lost certain e-mails. The possibly lost e-mails are from a period in which the United States decided to go to war with Iraq, White House officials leaked the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame and the Justice Department started a criminal investigation into who leaked the information.

Red State Road Trip Days 4 and 5

Chris Hume fans can follow his trip here:

Day 4

Day 5

FEMA Assistance Available to Flood Victims

Residents in 18 Iowa counties, including Johnson, now are eligible for federal Individual Assistance programs offered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Anyone in those counties who suffered damage from the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding beginning May 25 and continuing can register with FEMA either online or by phone.

In addition to Johnson, the Iowa counties eligible for federal individual assistance include Adams, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Cerro Gordo, Delaware, Fayette, Floyd, Hardin, Linn, Marion, Page, Story, Tama and Union counties.

Homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and non-profit organizations can register by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY 800-462-7585 for those with speech or hearing impairments, or they can register online at

The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.

Sunday, June 15

Iowa City Sandbagging Completed/Road Closings

Thanks to generous people, sandbagging projects are completed for now. I have truly been amazed at the numbers of people young and old, people in wheelchairs and on bikes, and others from neighboring cities, counties, and even other countries, who have all soldiered together in this time of crisis.

Most of the current sandbagging projects in Iowa City were today, Sunday, June 15. Volunteer opportunities will resume at a future date as the recovery process begins. A media release will be distributed when additional opportunities arise.

Thanks again to all those who gave so much to protect Iowa City and the surrounding area. We are most grateful.

CURRENT ROAD CLOSURES AS OF 2:00 PM; 6/15/08: (may not be current - situation in fluid):

Rocky Shore Drive; Park Road from Dubuque to Riverside Drive; Normandy, Eastmoor, Manor area; Taft Speedway; Foster Road west of Idyllwild; Dubuque Street from Park Road to Foster; Hawkins from Elliot to Highway 6; Highway 6 from Rocky Shore to 1st Avenue Coralville; Iowa Avenue from Madison to Riverside Drive; Stevens Drive; Waterfront Drive; South Gilbert Street from Highway 6 to Sycamore; Commercial Court; Clinton Street from Benton to Kirkwood; Kirkwood from Clinton to Gilbert; Sturgis Drive; Riverside Drive from Highway 6 to Benton; Riverside Drive from Benton to Burlington; Orchard Street (Highway 1 to Benton); Highway 6 (from Gilbert Street to Riverside Drive); Mormon Trek from Melrose to Highway 6/Coralville; Riverside Drive from Hwy. 6 to Ruppert Road; Madison north of Burlington Street; Riverside Drive north of Burlington; Myrtle to Myrtle Court.

Closed Bridges:Park Road; Iowa Avenue; Highway 6; Iowa River Power Dam Pedestrian Bridge
Areas of Concern: Burlington Street Bridge; Benton St. Bridge; Benton Street at Ralston Creek; S. Gilbert from Maiden Lane to 1st Street.; Douglas St. and Douglas Court; Riverside Court and S. Riverside Court; Southgate Avenue from Gilbert Street to Waterfront Drive; E. Burlington at Van Buren

The City of Iowa City continues to strongly discourage all non-essential travel. Motorists are encouraged to stay off city streets near the river corridor and to walk/bicycle or use IC Transit when possible. The only river crossings currently open at this time are Benton Street, Burlington Street, and I-80. Benton Street and Burlington Street Bridges are being monitored constantly, but are no longer scheduled for imminent closure.

Go to for updated Iowa City Road Closure maps plus a map of suggested travel routes within the Iowa City, Coralville, Cedar Rapids Corridor.

Now is not the time to sight-see; streets and remaining bridges in the Iowa River corridor must be reserved for public safety and volunteer transportation. Shop in your own neighborhoods whenever possible.

Animal Care and Supplies Needed

The Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center has evacuated their building and relocated to the Johnson County 4-H Fairgrounds. It is anticipated it will be located here for approximately three weeks.

Misha Goodman, Animal Services Supervisor, wants to get the word out that regular adoption services and emergency shelter are both located at the Fairgrounds. They strongly encourage residents who are thinking of adopting a pet to come out and give a shelter animal a forever home. Lowering the population count of animals at this temporary location will also help relieve staff and volunteers, while they are caring for both existing shelter animals plus those under emergency care.

Animals available for adoption may be viewed 12-3 Monday-Saturday - Closed on Sunday. (Emergency housed animals are not available for public viewing). In light of the temporary arrangements out at the Fairgrounds, it does require more time to view or meet an animal; staff appreciates your patience while we are in this situation.

For those people displaced by flood water, we ask that they try to find a friend or relative to help them out with temporary housing, but if they have no one else to care for their animals, we will take them. People with cats need to go to the Montgomery Building. People with dogs should leave the dog in their car, while they check in at Barn #1.

We welcome help from volunteers who have completed our training program. They must check in with the Volunteer Coordinator, Liz Ford, upon arrival.

Monetary donations are very much appreciated as it allows Shelter staff to obtain all the specific supplies and equipment needed to operate the emergency animal shelter and provide for al the needs of the animals.

Donations List: The most urgent need is for large outdoor kennels for dogs, the chain link kind. Please drop kennels off between 12-3 at Barn #1. These don’t have to be new kennels, but in good working condition. Other needs are: medium, large and extra-large dog collars and harnesses; 6 ft. long heavy (1”) nylon dog leashes; cat havens; small (ceramic is best) food and water dishes for inside cat cages; copy paper; photo paper for Kodak Easy-Share camera; hand sanitizer; liquid hand soap; kitchen sponges; towels and sheets to use as bedding/cat cage covers; monetary donations to purchase medications, medical expenses, and care for animals with special needs. Check for updated lists of needed items.

Donations can be dropped off at the Fairgrounds between 10:00AM and 5:30 PM daily. Donations to the Friends of the Animal Center Foundation for both regular and emergency animal care can be made online at or mail to Friends of the Animal Center Foundation at PO Box 1345, Iowa City, IA 52244-1345.

Routine Number: 319-356-5295;
Phone Number for Emergency Animal Rescues Only: (612) 219-8510.

Saturday, June 14

More Flooding Information


Beginning Monday June 16, 2008 Iowa City Transit will operate Saturday Service Routes. Service provided Monday - Friday will still be maintained with 30 minute headways during peak service hours, 6:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m., with 1 hour headways during off peak and evening service hours. The Towncrest bus will be leaving downtown at :15 and :45 after the hour.

Eastside and Westside routes will not cross the Iowa River. A shuttle service will operate between downtown Iowa City and the University of Iowa Hospital complex for riders needing to cross the river. When all bridges over the Iowa River close we will discontinue the shuttle service, all other routes will continue to operate. This will continue until bridge access over the Iowa River has been restored.

For Iowa City Transit information, call (319) 356-5151.


Farmers Market; Library programming; other City sponsored activities including Friday Night Concert Series; Barnstormers Tour and Pancake Breakfast at the IC Airport. Senior Center classes and activities are cancelled, although the building will remain open and meals will be served.

Note: All other City buildings will remain open, if possible. However, all non-essential travel is discouraged into and around Iowa City. Check back for further updates at Call the pertinent City department for confirmation before you travel.


The Iowa City Public Library book drop located at the University of Iowa Community Credit Union on Mormon Trek Boulevard is closed until further notice. The book drop will reopen when vehicular access to the west side of Iowa City is assured. All types of library materials may be renewed by calling the Library at 356-5200. The east side book drop at the 1st Avenue Hy-Vee remains open.


Friday, June 13

Iowa City Flooding Update

The City of Iowa City is strongly discouraging all non-essential travel. Motorists are encouraged to stay off all city streets and to walk/bicycle when possible. All City-sponsored events have been cancelled for this coming weekend, June 14-15. The only river crossings currently open are Benton Street, Burlington Street, and I-80. Benton Street and Burlington Street are expected to be closed within the next couple of days, resulting in the inability to travel between east and west Iowa City. Functions needing to operate in east Iowa City should prepare to be staged in east Iowa City; those functions needing to operate in west Iowa City should prepare to be staged in west Iowa City.

Effective immediately, from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM daily, volunteer sandbaggers in east Iowa City should report to the Volunteer Staging Location at Regina High School on Rochester Avenue. Volunteers will park at Regina and be transported by bus to locations where they are needed. Volunteers in west Iowa City should report to the volunteer staging location at the University Commuter Parking Lot on Hawkeye Park Road north of West High School and be transported by bus to locations where they are needed. Buses will leave on the hour.

Volunteers should not try to drive themselves to sandbagging locations and should not attempt to cross the river to reach one of the staging locations. Advisory to volunteers and to all residents of Iowa City: If you live in east Iowa City, stay in east Iowa City; if you live in west Iowa City, stay in west Iowa City.

Sight-seers and spectators should stay away from flooded areas.


Rocky Shore Drive; Park Road from Dubuque to Riverside Drive; Normandy, Eastmoor, Manor area; Taft Speedway; Foster Road (Idyllwild Drive/Peninsula); Dubuque Street from Park Road to Foster; Hawkins from Elliot to Highway 6; Highway 6 from Rocky Shore to 1st Avenue Coralville; Iowa Avenue from Madison to Riverside Drive; Stevens Drive and Waterfront; South Gilbert Street south to Sycamore; Commercial Court; Clinton Street from Benton to Kirkwood; Kirkwood from Clinton to Gilbert; Sturgis and Riverside Drive; Riverside Drive (Highway 6 to Benton); Orchard Street (Highway 1 to Benton); Highway 6 (Gilbert Street to Riverside Drive); Mormon Trek closed between Melrose and Highway 6, Coralville; Riverside Drive, North of Burlington Street.

Areas of Concern:
Riverside Drive from Benton to Burlington; Burlington Street Bridge at Front Street; E. Burlington St. and S. Van Buren Street; S. Gilbert and Benton at Ralston Creek

Bill Moyer's Address tp the National Conference on Media Reform

With the unexpected passing of Tim Russert, this speech by Bill Moyers is even more timely.

FactCheck De-myth-defies

Q: Is it true John McCain voted with George Bush 95 percent of the time?
A: Yes, it's true, according to Congressional Quarterly's assessment of McCain's voting record.

Q: Do the poor drive farther than the rich, as John McCain claims?
A: No. McCain is wrong when he claims repeatedly that low-income people drive more. In fact, the affluent drive twice as many miles.

Q: Is a letter from an anonymous teacher about illegal immigrants getting school grants true?
A: No. It cobbles together misleading statements to give the impression that illegal immigrants are receiving perks from taxpayers, when, in fact, they are not.

Johnson Counthy Website to Shutdown at Noon

The Johnson County Web Site will be NOT BE AVAILABLE starting at NOON today for 24 to 36 hours. Iowa City and Coralville Sites are still operational.

For sandbagging help or to volunteer call 887-6202.

Cedar County Bridges Impassable

From the Gazette

All bridges in Cedar County over the Cedar River are impassable. Dispatchers there were taking calls from people trying to get to work in Iowa City and North Liberty.

"Highway 6 is in Muscatine is still open, as far as I know, but they're going to close it later today," the dispatcher there said. "We tell people you can get there, but you won't be able to get back for a couple days."

Register with CodeRED

Johnson County E911 and the City of Iowa City E911 dispoatch centers have contracted with Emergency Communications Network, Inc., of Ormond Beach, Florida, for its "CodeRED" high-speed telephone emergency notification services. The CodeRED system gives county and city officials the ability to deliver pre-recorded emergency telephone notification/information messages to targeted areas or the entire county/city area at a rate of up to 60,000 calls per hour.

Mike Sullivan, Johnson County Public Information Officer, cautioned that such systems are only as good as the telephone database supporting them. "If your phone number is not in the database, you will not be called". The CodeRED system not only offers faster calling rates and improved message delivery, it gives individuals and businesses the ability to add their own phone numbers directly to the system's telephone database. Sullivan emphasized that this is an extremely important feature. All businesses are encouraged to add their information into the system's telephone dataase.

Citizens may register their contact information online at:

Johnson County Road Closings

Johnson County list of road closings here

Johnson County officials also have closed the Johnson County Administration Building at 913 S. Dubuque St. in Iowa City to the public until further notice due to rising flood waters.

Essential County employees can access the building by parking to the north of the location and walking in.

Flood Evacuation Routes map here.

Dem State Convention Postponed

From David Redlawsk:

You should have already seen email and/or received a phone call on this, but the Iowa State Democratic Convention this weekend has been postponed due to the floods.

The Party has not yet announced a rescheduled date, but says they will soon.

Hope all is well with each of you.


Thursday, June 12

Violence Against Homeless Continues Climb

Assaults on homeless people often fall below the radar of media coverage and public consciousness, but a new report shows that this type of crime is more prevalent than ever in the United States.

In their new report, "Hate, Violence, And Death On Main Street USA," the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty found that attacks against homeless people in the United States rose by 13 percent from 2006 to 2007. However, the actual number of attacks is probably even higher, because many are never reported.

The perpetrators of these crimes are often teenage boys identified as "thrill seekers." According to the report, 64 percent of the perpetrators of attacks on homeless people in 2007 were teenagers between the ages of 13 and 19.

Motives for attacks against homeless people are hard to pinpoint, but people who are homeless are particularly vulnerable because they don't have a safe place to go to avoid potential attackers. The report states: "regardless of whether the motive of the perpetrators was that of opportunity or of bias against homeless persons, homeless persons continue to remain particularly vulnerable victims due to the nature of homelessness."

Several states have introduced legislation that would extend hate crimes protections that enhance penalties to the homeless, including the three states with the greatest number of attacks in 2007, Florida, California, and Nevada.

Habeas Corpus for Detainees Upheld by US Supreme Court

Despite Chief Justice Roberts and fellow justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito dissent, the US Supreme Court upheld habeas corpus for captives held in Guantanamo. Glenn Greenwald in Salon says:

n a major rebuke to the Bush administration's theories of presidential power -- and in an equally stinging rebuke to the bipartisan political class which has supported the Bush detention policies -- the U.S. Supreme Court today, in a 5-4 decision, declared Section 7 of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 unconstitutional. The Court struck down that section of the MCA because it purported to abolish the writ of habeas corpus -- the means by which a detainee challenges his detention in a court -- despite the fact that Constitution permits suspension of that writ only "in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion."

As a result, Guantanamo detainees accused of being "enemy combatants" have the right to challenge the validity of their detention in a full-fledged U.S. federal court proceeding. The ruling today is the first time in U.S. history that the Court has ruled that detainees held by the U.S. Government in a place where the U.S. does not exercise formal sovereignty (Cuba technically is sovereign over Guantanamo) are nonetheless entitled to the Constitutional guarantee of habeas corpus whenever they are held in a place where the U.S. exercises effective control.

In upholding the right of habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees, the Court found that the "Combatant Status Review Tribunals" process ("CSRT") offered to Guantanamo detainees -- mandated by the John-McCain-sponsored Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 -- does not constitute a constitutionally adequate substitute for habeas corpus.

Chief Justice John Roberts, in dissent: ``Today the court strikes down as inadequate the most generous set of procedural protections ever afforded aliens detained by this country as enemy combatants. The political branches crafted these procedures amidst an ongoing military conflict, after much careful investigation and thorough debate. The court rejects them today out of hand, without bothering to say what due process rights the detainees possess, without explaining how the statute fails to vindicate those rights, and before a single petitioner has even attempted to avail himself of the law's operation. And to what effect? The majority merely replaces a review system designed by the people's representatives with a set of shapeless procedures to be defined by federal courts at some future date.''

``The critical threshold question in these cases, prior to any inquiry about the writ's scope, is whether the system the political branches designed protects whatever rights the detainees may possess. If so, there is no need for any additional process, whether called 'habeas' or something else.''


Justice Antonin Scalia, in dissent: ``The game of bait-and-switch that today's opinion plays upon the nation's commander in chief will make the war harder on us. It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed. That consequence would be tolerable if necessary to preserve a time-honored legal principle vital to our constitutional republic. But it is this court's blatant abandonment of such a principle that produces the decision today.''

``Today the court warps our Constitution in a way that goes beyond the narrow issue of the reach of the Suspension Clause. ... It blatantly misdescribes important precedents ... It breaks a chain of precedent as old as the common law that prohibits judicial inquiry into detentions of aliens abroad ... And, most tragically, it sets our military commanders the impossible task of proving to a civilian court, under whatever standards this court devises in the future, that evidence supports the confinement of each and every enemy prisoner. The nation will live to regret what the court has done today.''

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing to grant court access to detainees: ``Because our nation's past military conflicts have been of limited duration, it has been possible to leave the outer boundaries of war powers undefined. If, as some fear, terrorism continues to pose dangerous threats to us for years to come, the court might not have this luxury.''

``The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times. Liberty and security can be reconciled; and in our system they are reconciled within the framework of the law.''

``In some of these cases six years have elapsed without the judicial oversight that habeas corpus or an adequate substitute demands. ... While some delay in fashioning new procedures is unavoidable, the costs of delay can no longer be borne by those who are held in custody. The detainees in these cases are entitled to a prompt habeas corpus hearing.''

Justice David Souter, in support of the majority wrote: ``A second fact insufficiently appreciated by the dissents is the length of the disputed imprisonments, some of the prisoners represented here today having been locked up for six years ... Hence the hollow ring when the dissenters suggest that the court is somehow precipitating the judiciary into reviewing claims that the military, subject to appeal to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, could handle within some reasonable period of time.''

In a separate decision, the court ruled 9-0 that United States citizens detained by US forces have the right to challenge their detention, no matter where they are being held. In the consolidated cases of Geren v. Omar and Munaf v. Geren, the Court held that American citizens held by the United States Army outside of the United States have a right to challenge their detentions in federal court. The United States government had contended that, since the United States soldiers holding Omar and Munaf were operating under the auspices of a multi-national coalition, they were not entitled to habeas corpus in US courts.

Three of the five Justices in the majority -- John Paul Stevens (age 88), Ruth Bader Ginsburg (age 75) and David Souter (age 68) -- are widely expected by court observers to retire or otherwise leave the Court in the first term of the next President. By contrast, the four judges who dissented -- Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts and Sam Alito -- are expected to stay right where they are for many years to come.

Republican John McCain said that he continues to support closing the detention facility, but is concerned about a ruling that gives habeas corpus rights to enemy combatants who are not US citizens.

Democrat Barack Obama, who also wants to close Guantanamo, said "This is an important step toward re-establishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law, and rejecting a false choice between fighting terrorism and respecting habeas corpus. Our courts have employed habeas corpus with rigor and fairness for more than two centuries, and we must continue to do so as we defend the freedom that violent extremists seek to destroy."

What the rulings mean to Guantanamo captives.

Chris Hume Back on the Road

After the 2005 election, film producer Chris Hume created a film called "Red State Road Trip" to take a better look at the divide between so-called red and blue states, It's 2008 and he's out on the road again. Below are film clips from "Red State Road Trip 2"

Day 1

Day 2

For more go to Chris Hume's website

A Letter from Dave Loebsack

Congressman Loebsack writes:

As our communities battle rising flood waters, I am working with emergency management, local leaders, and the Governor's office to ensure everything possible is being done to protect Iowa families, homes, and businesses. I also want to commend all of the selfless individuals who have been volunteering to help those affected by the floods.

If you and your family need assistance I want to encourage you to contact my office toll-free at 866-914-IOWA. Additionally, you can visit my website at to find information and phone numbers on where to find help and shelter should you need it. During this time I want to serve as a resource to the communities affected by the current flood.

I would also like to remind people to stay away from the flooded areas if you are not involved in active sandbagging efforts. Spectators impede work and present a safety hazard.

Thank you,
Rep. David Loebsack
Your Congressman

Some Iowa City and Coralville Residents Told to Evacuate

Iowa City residents on Normandy Dr. are being told to evacuate, by order of Mayor Regenia Bailey, as Iowa River waters continue rise.

Updated at 3:03 pm


Updated at 11:12 pm:

Foster Roads and the streets that feed into and connect with it, that are west of Idyllwild Drive. They include the following: Louis Place, Algonquin Road, Arch Rock Road, Mackinaw Drive, Mission Point Road, Flint Road, Manitou Trail, Sugar Loaf Circle, White Oak Place, Swisher Lane, Swisher Street, Walker Circle, Moses Bloom Lane, Martin Street, Willenbrook Lane, Ball Street and Canton Street.

Effective at 4 p.m. today:

Idyllwild Condominium subdivision; which includes the following streets: Idyllwild Drive; Idyllwild Court, Camborne Circle, Colwyn Court, Trevose Place, Newlyn Circle, Pentire Circle, East 730 feet of Commercial Drive, all of Commercial Court, South Gilbert Street, 1519 S. Gilbert and south of the railroad tracks, all of Stevens Drive, homes along the east side of the Iowa River and along Napoleon Drive.

Recommended evacuation:

East side of Riverside Drive, from the intersection of Highway 1 and Highway 6 (Sturgis Drive), north of Burlington Street.

In the interest of safety of Iowa Citizens living and working in the area, Mayor Regenia D. Bailey issued a mandatory evacuation order of residents of the above streets effective June 12, 2008.

Coralville Mayor Jim Fausett called for a mandatory evacuation of all residences on Edgewater Drive and Shadow Lane, to be complete by 5 pm, Thursday, June 12, 2008. Residents will not be allowed to return to the affected homes until the emergency evacuation period is concluded. The decision to evacuate was based on the threat to residents' health and safety caused by the level of flooding in that area as well as the threat to the safety and welfare of emergency responders who may be called to the area.

Of the 29 residences on Shadow Lane and Edgewater Drive, roughly one-fourth remain occupied.

The Red Cross has opened an emergency shelter in Building A of the Johnson County Fairgrounds. This shelter offers food and housing to those displaced by the flood. The Red Cross is available for additional information at 319-393-3500.

Animal Shelter Seeks Higher Ground and Help

The Iowa City Animal Shelter has closed its location at 111 Kirkwood Avenue due to rising floodwaters. It has now moved both its regular and emergency operations to the Johnson County 4-H Fairgrounds.

Those needing non-emergency shelter services can still call its normal 356-5295 phone number. Staff plans to reopen at the temporary Fairgrounds location on Thursday, June 12, with operational hours of 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM.

Those residents displaced by the flood can use the emergency services offered by the Iowa City Animal Shelter for temporary care and housing of their pets. Those residents needing these emergency services can call 887-6202 (24/7) or 356-5295.

In addition, the Shelter is in need of large, collapsible dog crates. Anyone who would like to donate crates can drop these off at the Animal Shelter location at the Johnson County 4-H Fairgrounds.

Wednesday, June 11

A River Runs Over It

Iowa City is being pummeled by flooding, but people are pitching in. I helped sand bag in the peninsula area yesterday which, like City Park and Mosquito Flats is largely underwater. Sadly, many people who live in the neighborhood feel bamboozled as they were told they were out of the range of the 100 year flood plain and I was told do not qualify for flood insurance through the federal program.

Volunteers from the University of Iowa, the Iowa National Guard, members of the Parkview Baptist Church and their children, city workers, and many others filled hundreds of sandbags to try to hold back the rising water. Sandbag walls varied from as high as 15 feet to 3 feet.

It remains to be seen if these efforts are going to be enough.

Sandbagging continues today in Iowa City at:

Normandy Dr. area; Idyllwild Condos; Parkview Church, both near 15 Foster Rd.; (take I-80 exit 244- open to Foster Rd.); Water Plant, off Dubuque St. N. of I-80; Thatcher & Baculis Mobile Home Parks at 2254 S. Riverside Dr.; commercial area of S. Gilbert So. of Hwy. 6; 111 Stevens Dr.; Commercial Dr. area. Bring gloves and shovel if you have them.

Road Closings:

Park Road Bridge closed; Rocky Shore Drive closed; Dubuque St. closed between Foster Rd. and Church St.; N. Madison St. closed; Normandy Dr. closed. Use Exit 246 - Dodge Street to access downtown Iowa City. Some IC Transit routes have detours - see or call 356-5151. Thornberry Dog Park closed.

Parking is now allowed on south side of Foster Rd., south of Dubuque St. Parking restrictions in the Manville Heights area (bounded by the Iowa River on the north and west, Hwy 6 on the south and Riverside Drive on the east) and along the westerly 700 feet of Ridge Road will be temporarily suspended until further notice with the exceptions noted below. Vehicles displaced by flood waters may park on the north side of east-west streets and the west side of north-south streets until further notice. Exceptions: This does not apply to Park Road, Rocky Shore Drive, River Street, Woolf Avenue or Riverside Drive; regular parking restrictions will remain on these streets. “No Parking Here to Corner” restrictions will remain in place and be enforced.

In Coralville:

Sandbagging volunteers are needed from 8 am until 8 pm Thursday, June 11, at the Coralville Streets Department at 750 Camp Cardinal Boulevard. This is located south of Highway 6 across from McGregor's Furniture. Volunteer assistance is appreciated and gloves and shovels are recommended. The sandbags will be used by the City as they become available to protect areas deemed to be most in danger of flooding based on elevations in areas along Clear Creek.

Current street closings in Coralville are:

1. Edgewater Drive
2. 4th Avenue from Highway 6 to 5th Street

Monday, June 9

Iowa, A Good Place to Groan

Mike Carberry is a friend, neighbor, and fighter for a better environment, as well as other progressive causes.

Mike Carberry of Iowa City is director of Green State Solutions, which provides environmental and energy consulting services.

The state slogan of Iowa was changed in 1999 to "Fields of Opportunities." When I was growing up in a small Iowa farm town, the slogan was "A Place to Grow."

Both slogans have business, agricultural and educational components to their meaning. Iowa is known worldwide for its agri-business and education systems. Both of these are well-earned, and all Iowans should be proud of them.

But in the past few years, I have seen a darker meaning in our state's slogan. Exactly whom is the opportunity for? For the citizens of Iowa or for corporate polluters? Iowa has become a state that allows large corporations and factory farms to pollute our land, water and air with virtually no repercussions.

Last year, Gov. Chet Culver signed into law the Generation Iowa bill. The stated purpose of this law was to stop and possibly reverse the state's brain drain. Far too many college graduates leave the state. They leave to find good jobs, exciting places to live and a clean, healthy environment for recreation and raising a family.

Iowa has done a good job of creating good jobs, especially in renewable energy. It has also done a good job of creating an exciting place to live through its Vision Iowa and Community Attraction programs. Where Iowa has dropped the ball is in protecting the environment. Without that, Iowa won't be "A Place to Grow"; it will remain "A Place to Leave." Without better leadership from the Statehouse, the Generation Iowa program will be doomed to failure.

Iowa has the worst water quality in the country. Agricultural and industrial runoff infests our natural waters. Pesticides, herbicides, nitrogen, fertilizer and mercury make the water virtually unusable for recreational purposes that require the participant to get into the water. Because of mercury contamination, our fish shouldn't be eaten. Because our wastewater-treatment plants are substandard, we routinely read about sewage bypasses.

The Iowa Utilities Board just approved a coal-fired power plant in Marshalltown. This is a wrong-headed decision when we should be concentrating on energy efficiency, renewable energy and public transportation. States all around Iowa are denying permits for new coal plants, which contribute greatly to global warming and endanger public health. Why can't we stop using last century's dirty energy? We need to put a moratorium on all new coal plants and to start shutting down some of the old ones, which emit the most greenhouse gasses.

Concentrated animal-feeding operations, or CAFOs, are destroying the rural way of life. They threaten health by their odors, the particulate matter they put into the air and the manure spills that pollute land and water. But what do we get from our legislative leadership? A $23 million, taxpayer-financed bill to study hog odor. This will forestall any real solutions to this problem for five years until study results are completed. Here's a news flash: Manure smells like manure. It is not the smell of money. We need a moratorium on factory farms, and we need to support family farms before they become extinct.

As an Eagle Scout and the son of a large-animal veterinarian, I was always taught about stewardship and protecting this beautiful land. Elected leaders need to stop listening to large corporate interests that fund their election campaigns and start listening to the people of Iowa.

I want the opportunity to raise a family in a safe, clean environment in Iowa, not a neighboring state. I love this state, and I want our leadership to prove that they do as well. I want Iowa to be a field of opportunity for all.

Historic Election For Other Reasons

A lot of hay was made in the large media based on the Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton's race and gender as a bulwark for a historic election. However, there is much larger historic foundation to this election that many voters will be tuned.

1) Never has our country been in so much debt--with the debt ceiling over $10 trillion dollars.
2) People lost their homes at the highest rate on record in the first three months of the year, and late payments soared to a new high, too.
3) Americans’ equity in their homes — usually their single biggest asset — now has dropped to the lowest level on record in figures going back to the end of World War II. Homeowners’ portion of equity fell to 46.2 percent, which means the amount of debt tied up in their homes exceeds the equity they have built up.
4) Never have so many voters felt that the economy was in poorer shape than it is right now.

So, putting this bit of history up against the other, most voters are going to vote for the candidate they feel has the cure to these ills.

This portends well for Barack Obama and the Democrats. With a president whose economic policies can be boiled down to "rob Peter to pay Paul," a change to sound economic policies that keep people working is what voters are likely to back.

Policies that John McCain endorses would put even more money into a defense budget that is already the single highest discretionary budget item, which would be necessitated to continue the war in Iraq or elsewhere. Coupling this with his support of the Bush tax cuts, this is the equivalent of staying the course.

Obama's call for expanding the economy through renewable energy technologies, investing in infrastructure that lowers our total energy usage, investing in education and healthcare to improve productivity are all good, sound ideas that will work.

More Help Needed for Flooding

As of 4:45 PM, Sunday, 6/8: Volunteer sandbaggers should report to any of the following areas immediately: Parkview Church, 15 Foster Rd. (take I-80 Exit 244 to Foster Rd.); Thatcher & Baculis Mobile Home Parks (2254 Riverside Dr.). Bring shovels and gloves if available. Volunteers can check updated locations at

Need sandbaggers?
Call 887-6202 (City Hall).

Red Cross Disaster Assistance:
City High shelter closed. For shelter and other assistance, call 319-393-3500.
MidAmerican Energy
(Gas & Electric):
Flood Safety Tips

Wish to Sandbag?
Go to area(s) urgently in need: Parkview Church, 15 Foster Rd.; (take I-80 exit 244 to Foster Rd.); Thatcher & Baculis Mobile Home Parks at 2254 S. Riverside Dr.; Bring gloves and shovel if you have them.

Johnson Co. Emergency Mgt.

Dave C. Wilson, Coord.

Office: 319-356-6028

Cell: 319-431-3724

Sunday, June 8

Dave Loebsack On the Frontline

I went to help some friends whose house is in the flood prone Mosquito Flats and spoke to Congressman Dave Loebsack who was sandbagging along side folks like former City Councilman, Bob Elliott and Iowa City employees and community volunteers. This was my second Rep. Loebsack encounter in as many days as he also attended the world premiere of a documentary film about Iowa City icon, "Wild Bill" Sackter at Hancher Auditorium last night. It's called "A Friend Indeed: The Bill Sackter Story".

Here's the trailer:

If you get the chance, see this film.

Thursday, June 5

McCain and the Lobbyists: All Day Suckers?

Kind of a long way to go to make a point, but on the other hand, what is too far when you are talking about the influence of lobbyists?

Talk About Being Sandbagged...

With all seriousness...

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has indicated that on Saturday June 7th, they will increase the discharge from the Coralville Reservoir to 15,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). This amount of discharge combined with flows from Rapid Creek and Clear Creek will result in flood levels that will impact homes and roads in Iowa City. If you live in a flood-prone area along the Iowa River, you should begin preparations now.

Additional increases in discharge from the Coralville Reservoir will likely occur on Sunday, June 8th and again on Wednesday, June 11th. The amount of these increases will depend on the amount of rainfall that is received this weekend. The goal of the Corps of Engineers is to maintain the pool level in the reservoir below the elevation of the emergency spillway. If the pool level exceeds the elevation of the emergency spillway, flows could exceed 20,000 cfs in the Iowa City area.

The City of Iowa City has sand and sand bags available at the Sand Lake Facility near the intersection of South Gilbert Street and McCollister Boulevard. The City will also place sand and sandbags at the east end of Manor Drive and near the west end of Taft Speedway. Questions regarding the availability of sand bags should be directed to the Streets Department at 356-5181.

People who want to volunteer to assist sandbagging should call the Iowa Concern Hotline at 1-800-447-1985 and tell them that they want to assist with the Johnson County operations. Volunteers can also report directly to the Normandy Drive area and assist crews already working there.

Wednesday, June 4

No Election Insurrections, But Some Squeakers

Incumbent Democrat senator Tom Harkin may face unheralded Republican challenger Christopher Reed who won 35.29% of the vote which is likely to lead to a recount as Iowa law states the winner of a primary must have earned 35% of the vote to be a party's nominee.

In the 2nd District, Republican congressional candidate, Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Ottumwa squeaked by Cedar Rapids businessman Peter Teahen to face unopposed Democrat Dave Loebsack in November. Miller-Meeks won her race by under 100 votes.

In other districts, Dem Bruce Braley, who was unopposed in the 1st District, will face Republican challenger David Hartsuch in November. Leonard Boswell's strategy to avoid debating Ed Fallon served him well as he posted a 61% to 39% thumping in the 3rd District congressional primary where fewer Democrats in the 12-county district voted than in the 2006 gubernatorial primary. In the 4th Congressional District, Democrat Becky Greenwald won handily to face Tom Latham in November. In Iowa's 5th district, the matchup for the fall is between retired Presbyterian minister Rob Hubler of Council Bluffs, a Democrat, and Rep. Steve King.

With abysmal turnouts at the Johnson County primaries, incumbents held office--of course, when there is no opposition, the job is considerably easier, as Lonny Pulkrabek, Dave Jacoby, Mary Mascher, Vicki Lensing and others can attest.

Board of Supervisor candidates Rod Sullivan and Terrence Neuzil retained their offices as did Pat Harney. Terry Dahms was a good candidate, but wasn't able to define himself away from the pack.

Though the race was not close, challenger Mona Shaw is deserving of praise for her attempt to unseat long-time Johnson County auditor, Tom Slockett. Mona is a highly principled person and apparently 32% of Johnson County voters appreciated her candor.

Tuesday, June 3

Big Doings in Iowa City Precinct 17

At 11:45 this primary election day morning I was the 57th vote at Iowa City's precinct 17. I got to chat with J.C. Dem Tom Carsner's Mom, Virginia, who is one of the willing and able pollworkers. As of 11 am, 719 voters have turned out to cast a ballot in Johnson County. It almost seems like a waste of democracy, doesn't it?

By the way, if you haven't voted and decide to write-in a candidate in a race where there is no competitor, you must also bubble in the oval next to "write-in" for it to be counted.

Hopefully because of the early torrential rains in the area, the turnout will increase later today.

It's Primary Day

For all that is holy, go vote in the primary election.

If you don't know where, check with your county auditor's office.

Be the change you wish wish to see.

Invention Inviting Invention

The deceased designer of the patented Pringle's potato chip canister, Fredric J. Baur, opted to have part of his cremated remains (cremains?) buried in his own invention. This would be the equivalent of Thomas Edison being buried in a light bulb or Henry Ford in a Model T. Still, it is interesting to think of the application if "inventors" of all types were required to do this.

Imagine Robert Oppenheimer being readied for his final resting place in an atom bomb or Thomas Jefferson being buried in Louisiana (in honor of his invention, the Louisiana Purchase)? How about Rich Hall being buried in a Sniglet (an obscure reference for anyone who was born past 1980. A Sniglet is a made up word made famous by comedian Hall. For example, a hangle is a tangle of hangers often found on a closet floor)?

On a serious note, what if presidential libraries and/or burial places were in locations based on the invention of Presidents to put us in situations that we, perhaps shouldn't have been. The JFK and LBJ libraries would be in Vietnam. Ronald Reagan's library could be in either Panama or Grenada. Bill Clinton's library might be in Somalia. And, of course, George W. Bush's library would be in the Green Zone in Baghdad.

Monday, June 2

Cuba Caravan Coming

The Cuba Caravan will be coming to Iowa City
Sunday June 22
6:00 p.m. Meal, speaker, and aid collection (see list below)
Unitarian-Universalist Society (corner of Gilbert St. & Iowa Ave.)
Downtown Iowa City

Attenders are invited to bring any of the following items, to be delivered to the Cuban people by the Cuba Caravan, in an act of civil disobedience to the U.S. embargo of Cuba:
Box of crayons
Pens, pencils
Bars of soap
Toothbrush (must be in original packaging)
Prenatal or children's vitamins (MUST be sealed in original packaging, with expiration date after Feb 2009)

About the speaker, Caravaner Jim Bouman:

Jim Bouman is a 64 year old retired Juvenile Probation Officer who developed an interest in the Cuban Revolution as a high school student. He learned "passable pidgin Spanish" from two Marielisto Cubans he and his wife sponsored in 1980, who settled in his small city twenty miles west of Milwaukee.
Jim participated in the 2006 Cuba Caravan, driving a truck from the midwest to Texas, eleven stops, then joining the other branches of the Caravan in the U.S.-Mexican border crossing and eight day visit to Cuba.
Jim explains, "I immediately connect with the philosophy of Pastors for Peace Cuba Caravan: community organization, non-violent resistance to unjust laws, carefully undertaken civil disobedience, building people-to-people relationships, and sharing our
time and material goods with those who lead lives of considerable deprivation due to the unjust policies of the US Government vis a vis the Cuban people."

Old Brick
26 E. Market St.
Iowa City, IA 522445
(319) 354-1925

Vilsack Says Obama is the Nominee

CNN reports that former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack said Sunday it's time for Hillary Clinton to acknowledge she has lost her bid for the Democratic nomination.

Vilsack, who was briefly a presidential candidate himself last year, told the Associated Press it's "pretty clear that Senator Obama is going to be the nominee."

"After Tuesday's contests, she needs to acknowledge that he's going to be the nominee and quickly get behind him," Vilsack also said.

Vilsack first announced he was running for president in November, 2006, but dropped his bid three months later after the Democrat failed to drum up a significant level of support or raise the necessary campaign funds needed to compete. He endorsed Clinton shortly after and played a key role in the New York senator's unsuccessful Iowa campaign effort.

His comments came the same day the Clinton showed signs she plans to press on after Tuesday's contests — continuing argue she has won the popular vote and that the party's superdelegates are able to switch their allegiances before the convention in August.